To celebrate August as World Breastfeeding Month, three local programs teamed to offer a first-ever event in Southern Inyo.
Inyo County Health and Human Services Department’s Women, Infants and Children Program partnered with the Bishop Toiyabe Indian Healthy Initiative Tribe’s WIC Program and Inyo County First 5 to hold the First Annual Breastfeeding Awareness Walk Thursday, Aug. 16 at Statham Hall in Lone Pine.
The theme for the walk was “Be an All-Star and Hit a Home Run – Breastfeed!”
Organizers noted that while most adults don’t play baseball, WIC wanted it known that moms who breastfeed hit a home run every day.
“Studies show breastfeeding lowers the risk for breast and ovarian cancer, as well as osteoporosis in mothers who breastfeed,” said registered dietician Sherrie James, the Inyo County WIC director. “It lowers the incidence of obesity and diabetes in children and it boosts children’s immune systems making them less prone to ear infections (and) colds. But best of all is, breastfeeding is natural and provides huge benefits to the health of babies and the mother. It’s also free.”
According to Charles James of Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo, breastfeeding also appears to lower the risk of allergies and sudden infant death syndrome while boosting intelligence. “Almost every new study confirms or shows added benefits,” James said, noting that WIC programs are committed to promoting breastfeeding whenever possible.
And to emphasis its importance, an All-Star Wall of Fame poster with photographs of each family in Lone Pine supporting breastfeeding was on display at the Aug. 16 event.
Healthy Communities of Southern Inyo County provided the sound system and – with the help of the business community – also assisted with providing raffle prizes donated by local businesses and organizations.
Both WIC programs and First 5 said they also appreciated the assistance of supporters Lis and Kevin Mazzu of McDonald’s, Victoria Castro’s Mini-Market, Michele and Ed Green of the Lone Star Bistro and the Lions Club’s Matt Kingsley, as well as Dean and Beverly Vanderwall of the Lone Pine Drug Store.
First 5 donated healthy snacks, balloons, games, coloring books and gift bags.
The Walk was a family affair. The event drew more than two dozen supporters, with participants ranging in age from newborns, toddlers and older children to mothers and grandparents, joined by proud dad David Reyez with his wife and son. Inyo County First 5 provided games and activities in its Kids’ Corner.
There were also free gift packs, raffle prizes and healthy food snacks provided.